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Presidential Search

Royal Roads University

Dear members of the Royal Roads University community,

The term of our current President and Vice-Chancellor, Allan Cahoon, will come to an end on 31 December 2018. While we celebrate his accomplishments over the coming year and continue to work towards fulfilling his goals and vision for the institution and its students, preparations to find his successor are also underway.

The Board of Governors is responsible for appointing the university’s next president. The Board has established a Presidential Search Committee to assist it in fulfilling this responsibility. Executive search specialist Caldwell Partners has been retained to support the search process. Caldwell brings extensive experience and expertise to guide the search. Please refer to the section Mandate of the Search Committee for more information on the responsibilities of the Committee.

We recognize that choosing the next president is a big decision that will affect the university, its culture and community for years to come.  We invite you to be a part of this process by sharing your ideas about the opportunities that lie ahead, and the values and qualities that the next president will need to lead the university into the next decade. This webpage will be updated periodically to keep you informed of opportunities to participate and the Committee’s progress.

Thank you for your interest in the search for the university’s next president and vice-chancellor. We look forward to an exciting future for Royal Roads University.


Kathleen Birney                                              Vern Slaney
Chancellor and                                               Chair of the Presidential 
Chair of the Board of Governors                 Search Committee


The search will begin in November 2017 and will include opportunities through the fall and winter for the university community to share its ideas with the search committee about the university’s next president. We anticipate that the search will conclude in the spring of 2018 with the selection of the next president and that the next president will take up responsibilities in January 2019.

Mandate of the Search Committee

The Board of Governors is responsible for appointing the university’s next president and has established a Presidential Search Committee to assist it in fulfilling this responsibility. The Committee is responsible for recommending a short-list of candidates for the role of president and vice-chancellor to the Board of Governors for their final selection. The Search Committee’s work will include:

  • Seeking the input from the university’s key stakeholders: faculty, staff and students, on the opportunities and challenges facing the institution in the next 5-10 years and, consequently, the priorities for the next president and the attributes and strengths that the next president should possess.
  • Taking into account the feedback and comments from stakeholders, finalizing the president and vice-chancellor’s role profile.
  • Working with the Caldwell Partners to identify suitable candidates who meet the criteria of the role profile to recommend to the Board of Governors for consideration.

Once the Search Committee has made its recommendation to the Board of Governors, the Search Committee will have concluded its work. The Board of Governors will make the final selection of the university’s next president and vice-chancellor.

Committee members

The Presidential Search Committee members are:

  • Vern Slaney, Committee Chair and board member
  • Kathleen Birney, Chancellor & Chair of the Board of Governors
  • Liz Bicknell, board member
  • Dave Byng, board member and RRU alumnus
  • Bruce Donaldson, board member
  • Fred Burgess, RRU student
  • Katharine Harrold, RRU vice-president of communications and advancement
  • Jaigris Hodson, RRU faculty member
  • Candace Perkins, RRU staff member

Committee support (non-voting):
Karen Hakkarainen, Manager, Board Governance & Planning

Get Involved

Many thanks to the numerous and diverse members of the Royal Roads community who participated in our campus consultation process that took place between November and January. We sought and received your considered views and all submissions, verbal and otherwise, and have been reviewed and weighed by the Presidential Search Committee and search consultants, Caldwell Partners. Your input has been incorporated into the presidential position profile.

The position profile is essential to a successful search. Caldwell Partners communicates with a wide range of potential candidates on a confidential basis. The profile describes the requisites of the position and the desirability of the professional opportunity. Your key themes have been incorporated in the final product and they enhance the information package so vital to prospective candidates.

Thank you again on behalf of the entire search committee.

Vern Slaney
Committee Chair

Learn More

If you would like to learn more about this opportunity please contact Caldwell Partners at or email Janet Winship: Please reference Project 171119. All responses to Caldwell Partners are confidential.